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Board Game Review # 3 – Beowulf: The Movie Board Game

2010 June 20
by Michael Schroeder

“I AM BEOWULF!” – I think the ferocity of the actors voice when yelling that phrase can sum up the fun factor of this game.

Beowulf: The Movie Board Game, Reiner Knizia

Beowulf: The Movie Board Game

Beowulf: The Movie Board game by acclaimed board game designer, Reiner Knizia, is an alternate version of one of his [Reiner’s] earlier games, Kingdoms. This game is very simple, and in it’s simplicity, it’s very fun. Also to note, that you don’t have to be Beowulf fan or have read the story or seen the movie to enjoy it. Beowulf: The Movie Board Game is published by probably my favorite board gaming company, Fantasy Flight Games.

What’s the game about: Here’s an excerpt from the publisher…

Based on the new blockbuster motion capture computer animated Paramount movie Beowulf comes the officially licensed board game.  This multi-million dollar blockbuster directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary and staring Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich due out Christmas 2007 is destined to be a smash! 

Beowulf: The Movie Board Game tells the tale of the legendary hero Beowulf’s valor and temptation as he faces the enemies of the Kingdom of Heorot. In each of three acts, players guide Beowulf and his loyal Thanes into battle against the monster Grendel, Grendel’s treacherous mother, and the savage golden dragon who threatens to destroy everything Beowulf holds dear.

  • Based on the new movie directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Neil Gaiman & Roger Avary with an all star cast.
  • Gameplay is based on Reiner Knizia’s Kingdoms™ board game, but spans three all-new boards – one for each act – and includes all-new, highly thematic boons, perils, and special abilities.
  • Contents include detailed plastic figures depicting Beowulf, his Thanes, his longship, and Castle Heorot.
  • Playing Time: 20–40 minutes
  • Players: 2–4
  • Recommended for ages 12 and up

Basic idea in my own words: This game takes place over 3 rounds, wherein each round, players must strategically place their random tiles down and figurines on a grid that I believe is about 8×8, and for the 3rd and final round it’s much larger. The goal of this game is to get the most saga points, represented by small cardboard circular cutouts with point values on them. You calculate saga points at the end of each round when all spaces are filled up on the board.

How you score is wherever you have a pawn lined up in a line, you must look at each row and column where your figures are, and calculate a value based on the tiles also in that row and column. For instance, if you have a character in a row and in that row there is some tiles that say -2,-2,5,3, your figure would have 4 for that row, then you must do the same thing for whatever tiles are in that characters column. And you do this for all the characters on the board, and the goal is, to have a higher score than your opponents. Also, figures have different diamond values on them from 1-4, I believe, and those diamonds are multipliers. But you must balance out the characters with higher multipliers because once you use them on the board, they are discarded from the game at the end of that particular round, so save up at the right time!

Beowulf: The Movie Board Game

Example of Game Play

Component Quality: 3/5

The game has Fantasy Flight Games good cardboard stock, and textures but the card stock is not as thick as some games like Game of Thrones, or Arkham Horror. The miniatures are functional, while not indivudually colored, they are good quality. The greatest dissappointment with the production quality is the insert. The insert is just useless and too lose and not compartmentalized enough. This game can’t be stacked right side up or pieces will by flying all over to the bottom, which will make it a royal pain to separate components at set up time.

Theme: 3/5

Based off the Beowulf movie, can’t say too much there, but this theme is just stuck on the mechanics. The theme could have been anything. This is common on euro games, specifically games by Reinzer Knizia. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – just sayin’.

Instruction Manual: 3/5

Very easy to understand, not many pages, which is n0t needed for a game this light. Good color and print quality though. Comes with 4 summary cards as well for each player.

Luck Factor: 3/5

Your tiles that you turn over are randomly picked, but of course you get to keep 2 at all times, so there is more element of strategy here, but you are of course limited by what you pick. But the game has a lot of strategy, I can see people with analysis paralysis really bogging this game down.

Strategy: 3/5

While light, there’s a lot of strategy in this game. In it’s simplicity though lies the deeper levels of strategy, which generally tends to make a great game. This game is no exception.

Overall Feelings: 3/5

I give this game an average rating. While I’d rarely turn down a game, it’s also one I’s suggest to many people as it’s really easy to pick up. I think some may not care for the fantasy theme though – I wouldn’t recommend this one with my parents. But I got this game for $6. I absolutely cannot complain, it’s defn. worth more! I would suggest picking this one up!

One Response leave one →
  1. July 10, 2010

    Its unfortunate that it has to be based off of the movie instead of the actual story. If it was, the licensing wouldn’t bother me as much. For example, because Knizia’s Lord of the Rings is based off of the books, I’m able to take it more seriously than if it was a byproduct of the films.

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